Chrysocolla Gemstone Information
When it comes to eye-catching stones, the chrysocolla gemstone certainly qualifies. It often has exceptional, vibrant coloring, making it a popular choice for jewelry and other ornamental purposes. Plus, raw chrysocolla can come in intriguing formations, making it a widely-sought collector gem.
However, not many people are familiar with chrysocolla. As a result, it can often be a bit of an underappreciated gem simply due to a lack of awareness.
If you’re curious about the chrysocolla stone, here’s what you need to know about its properties, coloring, history, and more.
The chrysocolla gemstone isn’t actually a gem. Instead, it’s classified as a mineral. To be more specific, chrysocolla is a mineral of secondary origin. That means the stone is strongly associated with another mineral. In this case, that mineral is copper.
Raw chrysocolla tends to come in intriguing shapes. Often, it looks like a series of bubbles or domes that are stuck together. However, some formations resemble tight groupings of fibrous crystals, often coating the surface of an underlying rock.
One interesting fact about the chrysocolla properties is that the hardness of the stone can vary. The amount of silica present during formation can play a role, leading to Mohs hardness rating to range from 2 to 7. As a result, some specimens are reasonably tough, while others are so soft that they are difficult to work with.
In most cases, chrysocolla jewelry features stones with a hardness near 6. However, collector stones can run the gamut.
When it comes to the chrysocolla color, most chrysocolla stones are somewhere within the broader blue-green range. The hues tend to be mid-toned and relatively vibrant. Strong sky blue and turquoise shades are fairly common, though deviations also occur regularly.
At times, chrysocolla is actually a dark blue. However, these stones aren’t as widely used in jewelry or similar applications, mainly because they tend to be too soft. However, that doesn’t mean deep blue specimens aren’t available; they just tend to be collector pieces.
In some cases, the chrysocolla stone is opaque and has a somewhat waxy finish. In others, it’s a bit more crystal-like and has a vitreous luster. However, the intense coloring is usually present in either case, making the chrysocolla gemstone a standout among many other gems.
It is important to note that chrysocolla can come in other colors. Some end up close to black, either with or without a blue tinge. At times, chrysocolla could be brown or yellow, though this is fairly rare.
Additionally, many chrysocolla specimens are captured within other minerals. As a result, a piece of chrysocolla may have additional colors not because the chrysocolla comes in that hue but because the other mineral does.
The History of Chrysocolla
The name “chrysocolla” is of Greek origin, combining the Greek words for “gold” and “glue.” While that may seem odd, there’s a good reason for the name. One of its historical uses was as a material to solder gold, making the name quite apt.
Due to its coloring, chrysocolla has long been popular as a jewelry stone. Additionally, since the material can be pretty soft, ornamental carvings were another common use of the stone.
It is important to note that there is a debate regarding whether chrysocolla is legitimately its own stone. Some believe that the material might really be a mixture of spertiniite – a copper hydroxide mineral – silica, and water. As a result, some feel that chrysocolla should be reclassified.
Where Is Chrysocolla Found?
If you’re wondering, “Where is chrysocolla found?” the gem is most commonly located near larger copper deposits. As a result, there are several places around the world where it may be found.
When it comes to significant sources, the United States, particularly southwest states like Arizona, and Mexico are two of the largest. However, chrysocolla can also be found in Australia, Chile, Hungary, Italy, Peru, Russia, and Taiwan, among other countries. Historically, chrysocolla was also mined in Israel, though that’s less common today.
If you’re looking for chrysocolla jewelry, there are plenty of options available. However, the chrysocolla stone isn’t something you’ll find in chain stores, mainly because it’s difficult to get consistent-looking pieces and the lack of broad popularity. As a result, you’ll want to turn to independent designers.
Independent designers are usually comfortable with variations in the look of each chrysocolla gemstone. Additionally, small runs aren’t an issue for independent designers, allowing them to work with the material without undue risk.
When it comes to the types of chrysocolla jewelry that’s available, you’ll mainly find tumbled stones or cabochons. Carved shapes and images are also reasonably available. You can easily find pendants and rings with any of those and may even find some chrysocolla bracelets.
Chrysocolla beads are quite popular, as well. When designers use beads, they typically make either a chrysocolla bracelet or a strand necklace. However, you may also spot chrysocolla beads on earrings and pendants.
The chrysocolla stone meaning can vary depending on the belief system involved. Many consider chrysocolla to be a calming or soothing stone. They think that it can bring a person a sense of serenity or inner peace and promote patience, kindness, and understanding.
For others, the chrysocolla meaning focuses more on intuition or wisdom. They believe it brings additional clarity of thought and makes it easier to stay level-headed during times of stress or upheaval.
At times, chrysocolla is associated with creativity and self-expression. Others relate it to truth- or knowledge-sharing.
When it comes to chrysocolla healing properties, some people do connect the chrysocolla stone to spiritual and emotional strength. Others relate it to the nervous system. At times, it’s even thought to boost a person’s infection-fighting capabilities.
However, it’s crucial to understand that the chrysocolla gemstone isn’t a substitute for genuine medical care. While holding, wearing, or meditating on chrysocolla likely won’t cause harm, it isn’t proven to prevent or treat any medical condition.
Stones Similar to Chrysocolla
Several stones can have a solid resemblance to chrysocolla. Partially, this is because the color of chrysocolla can vary, giving you a bit of leeway.
One of the strongest examples of a potential substitute is turquoise. Turquoise is usually a vibrant blue-green, making it a near-match to chrysocolla in that hue range. However, genuine turquoise can be costly, which may make it a less-than-ideal stand-in for some people.
Larimar is also blue to green-blue, putting it in the same color family. But like turquoise, it can be expensive. Plus, it isn’t always easy to find.
Azurite and malachite are other gems that could be a substitute for chrysocolla. Azurite tends to be bluer than chrysocolla, while malachite is greener. As a result, it would depend on the exact shade you’re hoping to capture as to whether either of those could work.
Hemimorphite or smithsonite could also be reasonable alternatives when it comes to their appearance. However, both are pretty rare, so they are often more challenging to find and more expensive than chrysocolla.
In some cases, agate may have a similar look. However, agate commonly features bands, something you don’t find with chrysocolla.